Archive for the ‘Threesome’ Category

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Watch: Music docs at IFF Boston, Apr 23-25

April 19, 2010

Boston indie music and movie lovers, rejoice! There is a hat trick of music-related documentaries next weekend as part of Independent Film Festival Boston. All three screenings are at the Somerville Theatre at 7:30 pm. The italicized excerpts are from the IFF Boston site, and you can get more info and buy tickets there.

Searching for Elliott Smith:

Friday Monday, April 23rd 26th, 7:30 pm, Somerville Theatre

An icon defined by his music’s emotional accessibility and the detached enigma of his public persona, Smith is as quietly compelling in the accounts of his friends and fans as his life and lyrics were….Balancing his darkest depressions and greatest achievements, SEARCHING FOR ELLIOTT SMITH reveals its subject’s kindness, subtle humor, and reserved brilliance, as well as the perfect imperfections of his prolific output—and it testifies to the overwhelming effect his visceral truths had on his closest friends and anonymous admirers alike. [D. Barnum-Swett]

Do It Again

Saturday, April 24th, 8:00 pm, Somerville Theatre

Every real music fan has a favorite band—but it’s a very rare fan who single-handedly attempts to reunite them years after they’ve packed it in. In director Robert Patton Spruill’s DO IT AGAIN, that rare fan is Geoff Edgers, a Boston Globe staff writer and dedicated follower of the Kinks. Edgers was driven to embark on a risky and time-consuming quest to get the Davies brothers and their old bandmates back in the same room to play some songs…. [B. Searles]

Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields

Sunday, April 25th, 7:30 pm, Brattle Theatre

…Directors Kerthy Fix and Gail O’Hara provide us with comfortable, homey access to Merritt and the most important, grounding influence in his life: his decades-long friendship with his chipper musical collaborator Claudia Gonson. On his home turf, in the apartment that has doubled as the studio for the lion’s share of his recordings, Merritt is anything but prickly or uncooperative. He is a reflective, passionate, and even playful artist who is producing many of the great songs of his generation. [SL Frey/K Aikens]

EDIT: Factcheck fail. Dates, times, and venues have been corrected. Thanks to Brad for the heads-up!

MP3: Elliott Smith – Waterloo Sunset (Kinks cover) [via Rawkblog]


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Threesome: retro gay anthems

February 27, 2009

Listen up, possums: LGBT themes in popular music did not start with YMCA and end with Katy Perry kissing a girl and liking it. So in honor of Sean Penn’s Oscar win for his portrayal of Harvey Milk, this “Commie, homo-loving writer proudly presents three retro gay gems from the vault.

First up is Elton Motello‘s 1977 punk treasure “Jet Boy Jet Girl,” written from the point of view of a gay teenager who is essentially the flip side of Katy Perry’s ‘experiment’ – after a brief fling with him, his lover returns to girls. I suspect it doesn’t get a lot of airplay in the United States, since in 1989, Florida station WIOD was fined $10,000 by the FCC for playing it. But it was in regular rotation in the UK and Canada, and has been covered by bands including The Damned.

Next up is a dance hit by John Water’s favorite actor (or -ress), Divine: “You Think You’re A Man.” Released in 1984, it reached #16 on the UK charts and even landed Divine a spot on Top of the Pops. However, it never charted in the US. (seeing a pattern here?)

Finally, Canada’s Rough Trade were a new-wave band who were, as their name implies, unabashedly sexual. Their song “High School Confidential,” made it into the Canadian Top 20, one of the first explicitly lesbian-themed songs to be a Top 40 hit anywhere in the world. And, oh yeah, this was 1981.

MP3: Elton Motello – Jet Boy Jet Girl

MP3: Divine – You Think You’re A Man

MP3: Rough Trade – High School Confidential

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Threesome: Fuck

February 20, 2009

holy-fuck1

[image: Kayfabe Design]

A side effect of the rise of digital distribution on the Internet and the concomitant decrease in the influence of traditional media appears to be the rise of bands with ‘fuck’ in their names. Fucked Up, the Toronto-based punk band, got a head start (not surprisingly, given the genre) with their founding in 2001. Fellow Torontonians (and z=z faves) Holy Fuck and Bristol, UK-based Fuck Buttons were both formed in 2004. Even Yo La Tengo has gotten into the four-letter-word act, with a live performance March 2008 as Condo Fucks, and an upcoming album, Fuckbook, under the same pseudonym (although it’s not surprising that Canadian and British bands came first).

MP3: Holy Fuck – Lovely Allen [buy]

MP3: Fuck Buttons – Sweet Love for Planet Earth [buy]

MP3: Condo Fucks – What’cha Going to Do About It? [preorder]

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Threesome: “I liked them better before.”

February 9, 2009

elitismdiagram600

So, if you are music geek to any degree, at some point you’ve found yourself saying (or at least thinking) some variation on “I liked them before they were cool.” (“I liked their first album better.” “I saw them play this little club.” The permutations are endless.)

I heard a recent Modest Mouse song the other day, and it made me think about how much more I liked their early stuff, and why that would be. So here’s an argument for why it’s not just musical elitism: The early stuff – the first music that you heard by a given artist – is what you chose. It’s the music that spoke to you, that resonated with you in some way that led you to pluck it from the sounds around it and hold it close to your heart. The later music, on the other hand, is presented to you. (“It’s the new album by X.”) It doesn’t have to elevate itself from the background noise in the same way that the first music that you heard by the artist did. So, while it’s great when you like a band more and more as they release new music, that’s unlikely to be the norm.

In defense of the elitism aspect, though, sometimes artists make conscious decisions to be more accessible, musically or lyrically. For example, in the Dresden Dolls‘ first EP, A is for Accident, the live version of “Coin-Operated Boy,” contains the line, “I can’t even fuck him in the ass.” It was later changed, in their debut self-titled album, to the considerably more radio-friendly “I can’t even take him in the bath.” It’s hard to fault them for this, and I still love the new version, but I do prefer the uncompromised former version.

If you do happen to be a die-hard musical elitist, who stops listening to bands entirely once they go mainstream, may I recommend the lovely Diesel Sweeties t-shirt or hoody pictured above? (rstevens has a bunch of other cool music geek shirts, if that one is a bit too abrasive for you).

MP3: Spoon – Small Stakes [from Kill the Moonlight, 2002]

MP3: Modest Mouse – Tiny Cities Made of Ashes [from The Moon & Antarctica, 2000]

MP3: Death Cab for Cutie – Amputations [from Something About Airplanes, 1998]

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Threesome: City of Angels

January 30, 2009

gursky_los_angeles[image: Los Angeles by Andreas Gursky, C-print, 1999. From the exhibition “Global Cities” at the Tate Modern, UK]

I’ve been on a roadtrip in the Central Coast of California all this week, and it’s beautiful, but I think I am temperamentally more suited to grey Seattle, icy Cambridge, or even foggy San Francisco. This became particularly apparent to me as I took a look through my music collection for this trio of songs. No sunshine, no surfing, no California dream in sight.

MP3: Youth Group – The Destruction of Laurel Canyon [buy]

MP3: Elliott Smith – Angeles [buy]

MP3: Bad Religion – Los Angeles is Burning [buy]

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Threesome: Alt-rock continuity

January 5, 2009


[embedded YouTube video; if you can’t watch it, click here]

I was at the Ted Leo concert with someone who was much younger than me, and she didn’t really know who The Waterboys were. With the Clear Channel-ization of commercial radio, the dearth of good independent and alternative stations, and the general decline of radio listening, it occurs to me that we are losing a certain musical continuity. I grew up with Toronto’s The Edge, and it exposed me to a lot of music that came out before I was too young to hear or appreciate it, but was still in occasional rotation. It meant that everything new that I listened to fit into a context of decades of college and indie radio. If you’re mostly listening to bands from their Myspace pages, you might not be getting exposed to these bands or sounds of yesteryear.

So here are  three songs that are all lost classics from the 1980s – brilliant, emotionally-moving songs. As well as the Waterboys, here’s Australia’s Hunters and Collectors (a live track is below; you can hear the canonical version in the video above). I heard Squeeze‘s “Tempted” coming out of a car parked on my street a few days ago and it reminded me how much I loved it (thank you, whoever you are!).

MP3: The Waterboys – The Whole of the Moon (1985)

MP3: Hunters and Collectors – Throw Your Arms Around Me (live) (1986)

MP3: Squeeze – Tempted (1981)

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Threesome: alternative holiday songs

December 24, 2008

lolcat-xmas-tree

In response to my ‘Christmas songs for non-Christmas people,’ guest blogger Scott offered up three finds. The first is “Father Christmas,” by the Kinks, which I immediately recognized as a staple of my local alt-rock station. It’s a heartwarming holiday song about getting a job as a department store Santa Claus and being mugged by a gang of kids. Rilo Kiley‘s ‘Xmas Cake’ and Jenny Owen Youngs‘s  “Things We Don’t Need Anymore” are both about how depressing Christmas can be if you don’t feel like your life is going very well. The former is mostly just sad (crying in the eponymous cake) and the latter song is heavily leavened with anger (‘Here’s to wishes that’ll never come true.’)

Scott also sent me a song called “I’m Going to Spend My Christmas With a Dalek,” off an album of Doctor Who related songs, Who Is Dr Who. I got 56 seconds in (1:32 to go) before I had to shut it off. It managed to offend me musically, as a fan of Doctor Who (since when do Daleks have left toes?) and, well, as a human (the faux-childish lisp of the singers – yeesh). I think it would be rather fitting if its perpetrators really do get to spend Christmas with a Dalek, since they are pretty low on the holiday spirit and big on the ‘EX-TER-MIN-ATE!’

I can’t actually bring myself to propagate the song further, sorry. There’s enough horrifying stuff on the Internet without my adding to it.

MP3: The Kinks – Father Christmas [amazon]

MP3: Rilo Kiley – Xmas Cake [buy]

MP3: Jenny Owen Youngs – Things We Don’t Need Anymore